Wednesday’s Nashville winter finale featured a long-awaited kiss, an out-of-the-blue proposal and a dodgy confession – but all of it paled in comparison to the best news: We’re an important step closer to a Rayna-Juliette tour, y’all! Here, creator and executive producer Callie Khouri talks with TVLine about the escalating drama and what’s ahead when the ABC series returns in the new year.
TVLINE | Let’s start at the end, with Juliette’s end-of-episode proposal to Sean.
You know what? This girl will really stop at nothing to get her way. She will not be denied. [Sean's] mom should have known. You say you’re not going to be with my son? Oh yes, she is!
TVLINE | Juliette wants family, she wants connection, she wants to be taken care of – even though she likes to say she can take care of herself.
TVLINE | So do you think Sean’s mother’s comments gave her the idea of proposing to Sean, or do you think it was something that was germinating beforehand?
I think that was the tipping point for her. She’s desperately in search of some kind of security… I think it’s probably the first time she’s experienced being with somebody who just wants to be with her for herself. As sad as that is, it’s incredibly compelling for her. And seeing his family and thinking she could be a part of that…
TVLINE | Let’s move on to Rayna and Teddy. The skeptic in me, who doesn’t trust Teddy, thinks that Peggy’s suicide attempt implies that there’s more going on than he’s saying. Is there?
You know, I can’t really say. [Laughs] Teddy’s a troubled fellow who’s had a really serious and bad run of luck for several years now. I think that makes you do things sometimes that you wouldn’t do otherwise. That’s certainly the situation he found himself in with this financial situation that he was in. He’s made sure his life stayed complicated, let me put it like that.
TVLINE | I liked when he said, “I did this for our family,” and Rayna said, “No, you did this for yourself.” It spoke to him always being in her shadow and wanting some attention. Is that a dynamic we’re going to see play out even more as the story progresses?
Yeah. Part of his problem is he, somewhere along the way, started to feel just useless. I think it’s a really difficult place for a guy to be. I think it’s made him not unethical, but he’s made some bad decisions.
TVLINE | Rayna appears to have made up her mind to support Teddy for their daughters’ sake. Can you tease anything happening that might change her mind about that decision?
She is dedicated to her family. She’s in a terrible position, because she’s in a similar situation as Juliette in that family is so important to her — and yet there’s so much wrong with it. From her own conflict about going through most of her marriage in love with a guy she can’t be with, it’s just a very difficult situation for her. I think she feels a tremendous amount of guilt, and that causes things to not go as smoothly as they should.
TVLINE | There’s that great fight in the pilot where Lamar alludes to the fact that Teddy may not be the father of Rayna’s older daughter. When will he find out more about that?
Well, soon. It’s — like all these family situations — more complicated than I can tell you. Soon these things will start to be revealed.
TVLINE | I liked how, like in real life, it’s one of these “secrets” that everyone knows about but that only get pulled out in an argument when someone wants to go in for the kill.
It’s terribly bad manners. [Laughs] It’s like, “I thought we all agreed that nobody was ever going to say anything about that.” Nobody did ever agree to that, but it’s totally ill-mannered of Lamar to bring that up.
TVLINE | Will we see the mayoral race play out by the end of this season?
TVLINE | Let’s move on to Scarlett and Gunnar. Can you talk a little bit about Scarlett’s emotional state after that kiss and what’s ahead for her?
She’s kind of running out of patience with Avery, obviously. But Scarlett is actually really enjoying the fact that she’s got talent. This [songwriting] thing just landed in her lap, and when you find out you can do something like that, I think she’s starting to feel stronger. She’s wanting to find herself right now and not be [trading] one relationship for another. She’s still got really strong feelings for Avery. I think she always will. They broke up a long time ago before they even moved to Nashville, and I think she was in the depths of misery for that whole time.
TVLINE | Let’s talk about the tour. Rayna seemed much more receptive than ever before. How much of that is because of what happened in the last episode? Is she listening to Deacon’s advice about Juliette and thinking, “There might be something here…”
Rayna is really like, “God this thing has gotta happen.” She does not want her career to look like it’s faltering. And the fact that she’s got a hit, which will continue to do well, makes her really want to capitalize on it. So she decides that it’s smart to be proactive. She wants to take control of her career. This is an opportunity, and she’s not going to be an idiot about it.
TVLINE | I’m assuming Deacon’s tour plans will somehow work out with hers?
Nope… Things are complicated for Deacon. They don’t magically work out with Rayna.